Counteroffers: 5 reasons your answer should be NO

Counteroffers: 5 reasons your answer should be NO

If you’ve been working for any amount of time, you might have encountered a counteroffer. Counteroffers are renegotiated contracts, often for increased pay and additional benefits, from your current employer in an attempt to keep you from leaving their company to work for someone else. And more often than not, these counteroffers come with hidden dangers. Here are 5 reasons we believe your answer should be NO every time:

1. Counteroffers don’t fix the underlying issues

It’s very possible that your salary is the key factor in deciding to look for something new. But often, it’s more than that. Some common reasons you might start looking for something new include:

In all of these cases, your salary is not the only problem. And although it may be tempting to accept the counteroffer for the pay increase, it won’t fix all the underlying problems. You’ll still be dealing with all the same issues, but now with increased scrutiny.

2. You were probably undervalued

If they’re willing to pay you a higher salary with the threat of you leaving, it shows that they were capable of paying you what you were worth to begin with. If it’s only the fear of losing you motivating them to pay you what you’re worth, it’s a sign that they might not have valued you as much as they should have. It’s far better to move on to a company that’s willing to pay you fairly and that will value what you bring to their team.

Pro tip: if you want to know if you’re being paid fairly, check out our Salary Benchmarking tool.

3. Your loyalty might be questioned

You may be promised the world while your employer tries to win you back with counteroffers, but often these are empty promises. There is a distrust that forms when you show that you’re willing to look elsewhere for what they aren’t providing you. This could just mean an unpleasant working environment in a good scenario. In a bad scenario, this could mean being the first to be retrenched if things go wrong. Always take the promises made during the counteroffer process with a grain of salt. And keep aware that coming back may mean that you have a target on your back going forward.

4. Counteroffers could hinder your professional growth

Sure, you get a salary increase, but what opportunities are there after that? Because they’ve increased your salary so substantially, it could be ages before your employer is willing to give you an increase again. This means that at a certain point, what was once a salary hike will eventually plateau, and you may find it difficult to negotiate for more again. And that’s not even touching on growth in terms of the scope and responsibility of your role. Your employer may be less likely to want to promote you out of fear of you deciding to look for something else. There is a real danger of stagnating if you choose to stay with the company you were initially looking to leave.

5. Counteroffers are often a stall tactic

Often, employers will present you with a substantial counteroffer, knowing full-well that this is only a temporary measure. They will then begin looking for someone to replace you – someone who would be willing to do the job at a lower rate. In that sense, as risky as it is to go for something new, it could be as if not more risky to stay where you are.


At the end of the day, it’s your decision, and if you need the extra pay, you need the extra pay. Just be aware of the additional risks you’re taking on by choosing to go with a counteroffer. Your security with your employer is likely forever compromised. And the things that are big promises now might turn out to be empty later. Make sure that you think it completely through before you decide.